Monday, October 27, 2008

Trick or Treat: Is it Halloween Yet?

The Rooster began asking me in September: Is it Halloween yet? And, sadly, it still is not. 

He points to the neighbors' decorations, brightly lit up across the street, unmistakable from our naked windows -- five of them of them across our living room -- and pitches his frustration at my ears' pain threshold: YES IT IS HALLOWEEN TIME, LOOOOOOOOOK. IT IS IT IS IT IS. IT'S HALLOWEEN. I want to go get CANDY. NOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!

This is our first Halloween post autism diagnosis, and our first Halloween gfcf. Now, before I explain to you what a giant pain I find this in my giant rear end, let me tell you my little back story. 

I love holidays. Love em. You never saw a Jewish girl get Christmasy like I do. Oh, I don't go over the top with decorations or anything, I just get all drunk on symbolism and hungover on high stakes emotional expectation. Even I can't believe how quickly I turn from cynical pessimist into a drippy glop of mush shelling out $30 for every ugly ornament that says, "Baby's First Christmas" or "2007: Our New Home" and weeping over Passover stories on NPR.  

So you're wondering if you stumbled on to the wrong blog? Revising your whole mental picture of Rooster's mom? 

Even farther back in the back story: My childhood sucked. My dad got the very literal kind of drunk every holiday eve and puked all over symbolism. Then he fled the country and my mom worked every holiday eve, and spent every Christmas morning refusing to accept my thanks for the gifts she gave me, insisting on apologizing nonstop for not being able to buy me expensive clothes and jewelry I never wanted in the first place. Then, she met another drunk...

When I left for college, I EMBRACED celebration. I considered myself all grown up and in charge of my own holidays, and I. Did. Them. Up. Right. I remember a particular Halloween dorm party where I met a cute cyclist named.... but wait. I digress. 

I couldn't wait to have a family of my own with HOLIDAYS. I do not discriminate about holidays or worry about such nonsense as whether or not they match my religion or whatever: my rule says that if food is involved, I will celebrate. Ramadan, not so much. Chinese New Year? Now you're talking. 

And now, in the face of the holiday season, I feel a little slack in the ho ho ho, if you know what I'm saying. I'm concerned how my family's EPIC sweet potatoes will turn out without the essential stick of butter this Thanksgiving. And Halloween? It's looking pretty scary. 

So this is what I did. I got online and ordered a gajillion dollars worth of gfcf candy, which got me about 14 servings, and then paid double for shipping. I have stuffed these sugary gems into environment-killing baggies, and tomorrow I will add to these baggies a note to our neighbors. It will beg them to give an atypical family a break. It will request that, when my kids say "Trick or Treat", they will hand them these organic gummy whatevers instead of the good stuff they hand out to the NT masses. Wednesday after my husband comes home, I will sneak out and reverse trick or treat down our little street, leaving these baggies at the houses with the inflatable ghosts and the static cling bats where I feel most likely to catch a break. 

It's a risky plan, and I doubt it will work. But I have to at least try. It's that, or go all bah humbug, and give up my Fa la la la las. Maybe by the time we're looking for gfcf fruitcake and gelt, I'll raise the white flag, but for now, I'm setting out to get our whole family drunk on all-natural gluten-free casein-free soy-free gummi bears and good times. 

Wish me luck.
Is it Halloween yet? 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Day in the Life

Many of you reading this could surely give me a run for my money. You could handle my days with one arm tied behind your back, not in a straight jacket like the one I need. But I write this because over and over again people ask me things like, "Why don't you meet us at the beach?" and "How was your day?" and "Are you looking forward to..." and they don't know exactly what to make of my answers. I don't blame anyone, I just want to reframe things a bit with this perspective into my typical day in an atypical family with Rooster (4 1/2) and Peaches (2 1/2).  

Please: consider this a meme. I'm dying to read YOURS.  I advise you NOT to read mine. It is boring and pathetic, self-indulgent and stupid. 

On a "typical" Roostery, Peachy weekday, like the ones laying in wait for us now: 

2:30 I wake up for the first, second, or third time to a child who fell out of the bed/had a nightmare/threw up/has a cough/wet the bed/has issues.

3:15 I stare at the clock, kept awake by obsessively and depressively calculating how much (little) sleep I will end up getting at this rate, and my pity party begins. 

5:29 I wake up for the day to a child who is ready whether it's dark out or not to watch cartoons, wake a sibling, and hand over the daily list of demands. On lucky days, I squeeze in a shower, while the kids sit on the bath mat watching, commenting unfavorably. (LOOK at your TUMMY!) On unlucky days, I throw on whatever and barely manage brushing my teeth before I dive right in to the rituals: 
  • make sure I have one humongous-eater lunch and one gfcf (read: EXPENSIVE) lunch packed, along with daycare snacks (always red organic seedless grapes or the world will stop spinning)
  • make sure I have the backpacks with requisite supplies (pullups, wipes, changes of clothes, blanket, MORE SNACKS, etc.)
  • diaper and dress two unwilling participants who ought to be using a potty by now; then re-diaper them after they digest breakfast
  • feed two demanding eaters
  • eat my own breakfast, sharing bites with Peaches, who considers it tragic if I eat my own food alone
  • brush teeth of slippery eels by coercion 
  • put shoes on children no fewer than four times
Around 7:15, the arduous car loading (Where is my BATMAN? NO, I NEED SPIDERMAN!! GET HIM!), then commute begins. This is an exercise in juggling and magic. It is my job to distract, distract, distract. If I deejay just right with Beezus and Ramona on tape and Joe Scruggs songs, keep one finger on the wheel as I dole out MORE food, and anticipate arguments before they begin so I can head them off at the pass, maybe, just maybe, no one will bleed en route to....

8:00 School. Okay, use your imagination. The dropoff at school is too painful on typical days to write about unless you want me to sink into deep depression. And I work there so I'm not allowed to curse at my children in the process. In fact, I am expected to smile at least a little. Never do I feel less dignified. Oh, except at the end of the day. 

8:20-4:30 I spend working, but on lunch and other breaks on typical days I call insurance companies, therapists, doctors, and pharmacies. I occasionally look through the viewing windows into my kids' classrooms to see Peaches playing doll babies and Rooster knocking down another child's Magnatiles construction or being carried away from circle time in a tantrum. I wander the halls carefully hoping no one will stop me to tell me what issue my child had just this morning in class. If my phone rings and I see certain extensions are calling me, it is gong to be typically BAD DAY. Otherwise, I just enjoy working really hard. 

4:30 The Peaches is tired, the Rooster is overtired, and, while carrying two backpacks and lunch boxes, I sign them out and lure them away from their play with promises of popsicles at home should we ever make it there. As we leave, several small people try to stop me, wanting to tell me how the Rooster upset them during the day, but my hands are too full to pay adequate heed, and thus I am even less dignified then I was in the morning, hastily dashing off apologies, dragging my kids, begging for cooperation. It takes an average of 23 minutes to wrangle the tornadoes to the car. You could make the trip without them in about 3 minutes. En route, we pass at least one or two of my dear friends/colleagues, whose warm good night wishes to the kids earn snarls and yelps in reply from the Rooster, and hiding behind my legs from Peaches. 

By 5 we are in the car, and by 5:45 we get home, having stopped the car at least 3 times on our 9 mile journey while I threatened to put them on time out on the side of a freeway. The rooster is not entirely to blame for this. He used to be, but now that Peaches is two, she has some terribles to get out of her system. Either one, two, or three of us have tears and snot flying by the time we make it to our driveway, and the floor of my Saturn has a new layer of filth that soon will make for a creative foot rest for the short people. 

by 7ish, daddy is home. Before his arrival, I have fed the kids, emptied and repacked their lunches, tossed in a load of dirty clothes, emptied the dishes that he ran before work in the morning, handled mail and bills, and we are deep into an episode of Sesame Street on DVR. 
It is time for my own dinner. Cereal? PBJ? Or microwave some chicken teriyaki? I ponder the exercise bike taking up all the breathing room in our bedroom. I am weary. Daddy will have to fend for himself for food. First, though, he's going to pour himself a cocktail. 

By 7:30 my husband and I have done medicines, diapers, toothbrushing, humidifiers, book reading, melatonin, vitamins, and behavior management. We have toyed with the concept of baths and resigned ourselves that this will wait. We make plans to divvy up the rest of the week's therapies, phone calls, and extra chores. We briefly wonder when we will look at potential schools for next year, decide about vaccines, replace our broken down car, and see our faraway families. We vow that soon we will see our own doctors and take care of our own maladies. We add more papers on the piles. We argue a bit, make up, sigh heavily, and probably I will cry just a little. At least once I will say, "I miss my Grandma." At least 30 times the Rooster will have jumped from furniture. At least 10 times the Peaches will have tried to negotiate to stay up longer. The names they will have called each other range from the jargony made up ones (You're a DATCHER) to the gross (You POOTER), and their assault on one another will include poking, pushing, shoving, biting, spitting, grabbing, kicking, taunting, and screaming. We will tuck the children in with lullabies once or twice or thrice. They are, at last, lovely, beautiful darlings, and I kiss their foreheads repeatedly. Mmmmm, sweet foreheads. 

8:00 I will consider any number of useful activities I could do VERY QUIETLY (TV is OUT), and then end up playing a few quick rounds of WordTwist on Facebook before reading blogs and writing a post like this one (well, hopefully better than this one). I call this Therapy Time. It keeps me going. Really and truly, it is not optional. Once in a while this is a time to sneak in that shower, but on a truly typical day, my husband is soaking in the tub with the lights off nursing a headache, so I'll make do with a quick wash cloth and some extra Secret. 

9ish Make to do list with grand intent, with things like Send Birthday Card to Loved One, Change the Oil, Deposit Paycheck. Cram it in the overstuffed purse with the others. 

9:30ish If my eyes still hold themselves up, I will remember that I must do the right thing and close them, because 2:30 will be here soon, and I better be ready. 

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Teaching

Pixie Mama wrote something today that struck so close to home I feel inspired to use this brief respite (the kids went for a ride with daddy) to blog instead of doing the other hundred things I claimed I was going to do. 

Pixie Mama said, "I can't remember a time where I actually felt qualified to raise my own children. More often, I feel seriously under qualified." Me, too, Pixie Mama! Now, neither Pixie Mama nor I have degrees in special ed, neurology, psychology, or any other -ologies. But I do have a fair share of teaching credentials, and a Master's in Education, and I am starting to think I could teach a few -ists a thing or two. 

Before I hand out my wisdom, let me say too that my family has some absolutely wonderful helpers in our lives. I am grateful to every resource who has helped us learn and grow, and I always make that clear to them. But, like Pixie Mama, we've had our share of false prophets, too. 

So, inspired by Pixie Mama, here are five things I have learned from teaching -- things that I wish more experts in many fields knew:

A child is an entire person, and you can't help part of my child if you forget about all the rest of him. Notice that if I teach your daughter literature, I don't tell you that her emotional well being, her vision problem, her math giftedness, her passion for violin, her chicken pox, your divorce, or her stutter are not my department. Nope, teachers care about all of that, care about your child as a whole package, see everything as relevant, incorporate it all into the process, because the process isn't really about LITERATURE, the process is about LEARNING. 

Giving directions or instructions is not the same thing as teaching. If you want to teach a person something, that means monitoring for understanding, readjusting as needed, welcoming exploration, and taking in to account the learner's needs. This is particularly true when you are dealing with grownups, and those of us with special needs kids sometimes have full, weary, aging brains. If you care that we get what you're saying, you might have to do more than talk; Notice that when we have a parent-teacher conference, I ask you about how things are going at home. I don't just launch in to a list of my expert insights into what you and your kid ought to be doing better and how I think it ought to be done. Giving directions or instructions is a one way street that might or might lead to a destination, but teaching is an infinite circle of possibilities. 

Kids don't have one way of behaving that never changes no matter where they go. If your son shows tremendous independence and initiative when he comes to my computer lesson, I don't assume that my four and a half hours with him in a week represent his entire personality, or that he dives in every pool without any support. When you tell me that the boy you've raised for many years actually tends to operate cautiously in your experience, I assume you know things about your child that I don't. I set out to teach the whole child, but I recognize that I only get a narrow slice of his or her time, and I can't become all-knowing in a semester. 

As a teacher, I view myself as part of a team. My teammates include my students, their families, their other teachers, and the administrators. We all have the same goal. We are not in competition with each other. If the kids succeed, we all win. If the kids struggles, we all need to pull together more. Key word: together. 

Finally, there is more to life than just what I teach. Whether I'm teaching writing, math, computers, or anything else, it isn't the be all, end all, start and finish of the universe. Sure, those subjects matter, but so does family time, so does rest, so does joy. Homework can be valuable; so can homeplay. (How cool is it when they both seem like the same thing?) I might not actually have had this realization from teaching. This one I think I learned from parenting, but I will not forget it ever again as an educator. I don't want every moment I spend with my child to feel like a therapy session that never ends. Sometimes  I just want to be a family. 

Since being a teacher has helped me parent, and being a parent has made me a better teacher, maybe it's no wonder I've come to prefer -ists who have kids of their own. Similarly, I've sought as friends people who know how to teach me things.  Like Pixie Mama, who is eminently qualified. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Potty Mouth

If you have a low threshold for potty talk, perhaps you should wait til my next post, and I won't blame you one iota.

Personally, I'd rather talk about, read about, almost anything else, but I'm starting to panic that my 4-year-old, who TOTALLY understands what to do, who has done it on occasion, who has memorized the Potty Power song, really wants to keep his diapers, because he says he just doesn't like potties. Potties, he tells me, are gross. Hmmmm.... what does he think DIAPERS are? Wet, soiled, disgusting, diapers never bother him, unless they are being changed. He has actually screamed at me, "I want to keep my poopy diaper!!!!!!!!!"

Today I picked him up from the afterschool multiage daycare room and he told me, "Chris* says I'm stinky. Those are not nice words. I don't like it. He calls me stinky, mommy. Tell him I don't like that." I assured rooster that I certainly would have done that if Chris hadn't already gone home, and I certainly will talk to him about it, because those are not nice words. What I didn't say is that sometimes they are accurate words. Chris said it, but I've thought it. Peee --- eww.

Just like with all the other behaviors that trouble me, I do the guilt check -- you know the drill -- to see how my boy's latest issue stems back to my own failures. Is it because I tried too early to train him, or didn't try the method the neighbor swears by, or because I went for a long stretch not even bringing it up at all (waiting until he was "ready"), or because when he redecorated his room in brown (YUCK) quite a long time ago I completely lost my marbles and perhaps traumatized him more than he traumatized me?

Really, on this one, I don't care as much about the why of the issue anymore as I do about JUST GET THIS KID POTTY TRAINED ALREADY. I am bribing, and I mean wayyyyyyy beyond the candy bribes. I'm bribing like that book Eat Your Peas. (If you haven't read it, I have to tell you it's my fave among the kiddy books; the mother has poofy hair I can relate to and a familiar look of exasperation as she offers her kid candy factories, rocket ships, and a free lifetime pass on bathing if the kid will just eat the stupid peas.) I have made it clear I will take the rooster to Disney Land AND Lego Land AND buy him the remote control toy he wants if he uses the potty every day. The every day part is essential in reminding him of the bribe, because otherwise he screams at me, "I ALREADY DID USE THE POTTY." Yes, rooster, you have used it four separate times over a course of a year. I want to scream back, but obviously don't, "NORMAL PEOPLE USE IT EVERY SINGLE CRAPPY DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!" Yes, this is not a constructive thought, or a very nice use of the word "normal," but that is why I tell you, and not him. And you know what he retorts when I offer him every single thing he has ever said he has ever wanted? "I don't like that toy, anyway. I like diapers. I don't want to go to Disney Land. I like diapers."

A former doubter and skeptic, I have been converted to belief in unusual therapies since becoming a spectrum mom, and yesterday I skimmed through a book called (I think) The Boy Who Loved Windows (or something like that). In it, I read a mom's description of how a therapist showed her to rub her son's gums, palate, and teeth just so. Shazam, within weeks the preschooler could dress himself and suddenly wanted to be potty trained. Cut to: Me, daring to stick my hands in the rooster's little maw, to no avail. At least this was cheaper than the three potty chairs I bought (free, in fact, as it was a library book, and the rooster has not bitten me or caused me in any other way to need medical assistance - YET) and didn't take my whole exhausted weekend before it failed.

You see, I'm getting desperate.
Don't tell me your techniques, just send your best voodoo magic. I'm too tired for techniques, and I'm all potty partied out. (I'm a party pooper?) Kindergarten is around the bend, and I need this boy wearing the forlorn pirate underpants crammed in his top drawer before he pops right out of his 5T pullups and I become the one redecorating the (padded) room in brown.

Eww. Ick. Goodnight.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Too Two

Peaches is two and a half years old, and I think some law somewhere says that entitles her to a few free passes on behavioral expectations. As in: her reign of (near) saintliness had to end some time. And end it has. She asked for a cup of lemonade, and then proceeded to dump it on her head, for instance.

Don't think for a minute I'm letting her just get away with it. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I have been reexamining closely my expectations for my NT child, and how they might reflect life with a kid on the spectrum.

I don't know how many times the presenter at one of our school's inservice days used this same line in his speaking engagements, but I know 6 years later I still regularly think of him saying, "Fair doesn't mean giving each child the same thing, it means giving every child what they need." I think this needs to be in the teaching Pledge of Allegiance.

I don't have a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching, so I can't see having one to parenting, either. I expect different things from Peaches than I do from Rooster. It's not really quantifiable in terms of MORE or LESS, but it's certainly different.

When Peaches poured lemonade on her head (and, consequently, the kitchen floor), I put her little butt on time out, loudly. What would I have done if Rooster had pulled the same stunt? Hmmmm. Hard to trust my hindsight, but I doubt I would have had the same level of reaction. The rooster doesn't have more trouble regulating his behavior because he's a BAD boy, but because his physiology plays a big part in it, and he can't help that. He, also, doesn't get a free pass that says AUTISM across it. But would time out HELP him? Not a chance. It helped Peaches -- she won't pull that stunt again -- so, to me at least, what might look like a double standard, seems fair.

I bet some of you will disagree. I'm open. If I'm doing it all wrong, help me learn.

Today one of my best friends left a gift in my mailbox at work: adorable little t-shirts, leggings, a skirt, a dress... all size 3T for my little Peaches. If you read this blog, you are expecting this part: I welled up when I read the card, saying Peaches deserved a Just Because gift. My guilt kicked in for a split second: did everyone think Peaches gets the short end of the stick at our house, with so much attention on the Rooster? No, it's not easy having a sibling on the spectrum, just like it's not easy having a child on the spectrum, but it has its gifts, too. And I'm not just talking about cute pink outfits, either. I hope that the Peaches will learn from her brother as much as she teaches him, that she will grow stronger and wiser, more patient and tolerant because of him, and that they will become friends in a way my brother and I never did.

Mostly right now I hope we all survive the terrible twos and preschool.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dennis Leary, Genius

I think Dennis Leary is a genius. 

He says autism is just a word lazy parents use as an excuse for rotten brats. 

He SAYS that, he doesn't actually think it - he just needs a CAREER, and lately, more and more people probably would say, "Dennis who? Is he that stupid guy who thought he could do football commentary?" No, that is the other aging Dennis Who Once Was Funny. So Dennis wrote a book, and he knew that his mother couldn't buy enough books to keep him in the lifestyle he assumed he deserved, so he thought he'd stir up business by stirring up the rancor of two people, minimum, per 150 births these days. He knew he could gain a few minutes attention with his comments, and then a few more with his (lame) apology (read: excuse). 

So I say he is smart, even if he is NOT funny.  From what I hear, when he IS funny, he has stolen the material, and is widely believed to have stolen much of it from a former friend who died of cancer. Classy. 

So I think Dennis probably knows a lot about brattiness and laziness - he seems like he has firsthand experience. Which, despite having kids, I don't think he has with actual parenting. 

Okay, so Dennis smart. But let's be smarter. Let's bury his name with this post. Let's not read him, or his book, or watch him,  or discuss him, let alone buy any of his recycled schlock. Let's not even Google his name, which, by the way, is NOT spelled Dennis. I just always get a tiny rush of pleasure from misspelling the names of people who otherwise make me sick. And as the (hard working, attentive, noncompetitive) parent of a child with autism, I need all the little pleasures I can get. 

By the way: I LIKE dark comedy. I don't think topics are "off limits." I can make and enjoy good jokes about just about anything, including the dramas I live through first hand. I just have both a good sense of humor and a good sense of taste. Some of you blogging moms who are reading this now? You make me snort; I have sprayed my Coke all over my monitor sometimes while reading your posts. (Thanks for that Kia and Mara; what a mess.) You'd think professional comics would get what we all do: funny things have a grain of truth at least -- that's why we laugh. 

Dennis, you can kiss it. Nobody thinks you are worth laughing at. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Still Seeking Perspective

Yes, I'm still trying to size things up.

My mom can meet you for five minutes, not see you for six months, and pick out your wardrobe for a year without getting a single size wrong. She can hang out in your house for an hour and months later talk you out of the hutch you point to in the catalogue: "You'll be sorry if you get that one; it's about six inches too wide and it'll always feel like it's in your way." My mom knows how to size things up. Also, she is not known for worrying. Most things I worry about make her say something like, "A few years from now you will look back and this will just be a little thing you hardly even think about anymore."

I do not take after my mom much.
I still struggle all the time to judge the proportions of things. I struggle with sense of scope and scale. I go in the dressing room with sizes 6 to 14, never sure if any of them will fit. I do look back at some things I worried about five years ago and wonder why I lost so much sleep, and I reluctantly have to admit that mom was right. And I look at other things and wonder why I didn't think to worry about them more, as if the worry might have helped. (Mightn't it have?)

When I was about 10, my mother left my father, my father left the country, I moved away from my home and school without saying goodbye, all of our money was gone, and the FBI wanted to have a few words with us about dad's "business." I thought it was the end of the world, and anyone who met me that first year could tell it. I wasn't sure I'd ever make new friends in this small and insular town, that I'd ever forgive my parents for their secrets and deceptions, or that I'd ever go to college with my suddenly penniless mother having to work for minimum wage. It made me angry when my mom said, "You'll get over it." I don't know how over it I got, but I made friends, even with my mom (who I adore), and I had more happiness at college than ought to be legal.

When I left my ex for his infidelity, I thought I'd ruined my life by choosing a bad partner and wasting five years with him. I thought I'd never "catch up," have true love, make babies, have the kind of family my parents couldn't give me. All wrong, of course.

On the other hand, you don't want to hear all the things that I thought would be small problems, that turned out to grow and grow and grow.

This time, I have this gnawing need to know: HOW BIG IS IT? This Autism Thing. It dances in front of the fun house mirror, and I don't know if it's a 6 or a 14, how much it's going to get in our way.

I know that I don't want to waste too much time worrying about the small stuff, but nobody believes it's really ALL small stuff. I know that I don't want to overlook things that need taking care of. It's a conundrum. I know I have never worried as much about myself (and clearly I've worried plenty about my self) in the 30some years before kids as I have worried about these little people in the last five years. I know if, before kids, I had truly, completely understood how much and how deeply I would worry, I would have chickened out. I could not have gone through with it.

Really, my perspective problem is at the heart of many of my problems.

I read so many blogs by smarter, stronger, healthier mamas, and I envy those with the sense of proportion I lack.

Does anyone have an accurate yard stick I can borrow?

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Nope, I'm not talking about the economy. 

I am going to make several unpleasant confessions, and if I tick you off, I am sorry.

When people have wanted to talk to me in the last month about my "depression," I admit I have been defensive. Depression sounded like a condition I didn't want to have, another diagnosis to add to the heap around our house. I could almost agree with saying I "feel depressed," which sounds so much more temporary, but still I wanted to bark back, "OF COURSE I FEEL DEPRESSED, haven't you been paying any ATTENTION? YOU WOULD BE DEPRESSED TOO if you spent a day in my shoes (which, by the way, I DON'T THINK YOU COULD!!!)" 

And I would say for the zillionth time to my husband, "It isn't really about things being worse, it's about..."
And he would finish for me, "...the war of attrition." 
"Right," I would say. "It's cumulative." 
"Right," he would say. "We're fried. Completely fried. And you are depressed." 

Okay, okay, so alright already. I have been depressed. I haven't had the energy to brush my teeth sometimes and my stomach has hurt a lot and it turns out medically speaking I'm fine, so I guess I've been depressed. Why is it I feel a need to justify it? Why is it I feel like saying, "BUT..." and describing the last five years, as if to defend my right to my sadness? 

I don't think there is anything bad about a person being depressed. Depression is not something to be ashamed of; it's something many people I love have battled. 

Maybe it's guilt. So many special needs parents out there handle harder circumstances with more grace. Maybe it's denial. I have been known to reside in the land of denial before, and as they say, it ain't just a river in Egypt. Maybe it's the exhaustion, though. I truly have felt like I don't have time to do anything about depression. Recently a friend asked me why I wasn't blogging, and if I was doing anything else for an outlet. I so appreciate that. It came from love. But, at the moment that I read her words, a whole rant erupted in my mind's blog: "I don't want to DO anything! That's just it! I don't want to DO therapy or DO drugs or DO depression. I've been busy, I've been TIRED, I've been DOING autism, its therapies, its drugs, its endless DOING. And working. And parenting. And being a wife. And not feeling well. I DO every minute of every day and I don't want to DO depression. I am DO-NE." 

And when I listened to my own thoughts, I thought: Well, aren't I ironic. Better get up off my depressed butt and roll up my sleeves. 

So here I am again. Back to my "outlet." Hoping some of you are still out there. 

Here's what I'm wondering: 
If you have a special needs child, or if you don't: Have you ever been depressed? 

And, if you are a special needs parent, how do you find balance? How do you take care of everyone, including yourself? 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Notable and Quotable

I realized I should always put this at the top of my notable and quotable pages: Rooster is 4, Peaches is 2. I'm in my upper 80s, at least. 

Me: What should I be for Halloween?
Peaches: A princess!
Rooster: No! A queen. The Queen of Evil. 

Rooster: Barack Obama
Me: Do you know who that is? 
Rooster: Yes. Barack Obama is in the United States. He is going to be president. He is going to be president of the United States of Barack Obama. 

Peaches is a pink fanatic. She insists on pink VITAMINS. 
Me: Peaches, what did you dream about last night?
Peaches: I don't know. 
Rooster: Was it sheep? Pink sheep? 

Rooster picks up a magazine at OT. It has a crying baby on the cover. (It is about vaccines and autism.) He points at the baby and hands the magazine to me. 
Rooster: The boy is NOT happy, mommy. 
Me: No, he's not. He's crying. 
Rooster: He's dis --- dis --- disregulated!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Me Again

So, you knew I'd be back, right? 

I tried to retire; I tried harder, I think, than Brett Favre, to retreat. 

But, see, my husband bought this GREAT used laptop.  It actually works on its own battery without being plugged in and without burning my legs through my pajamas. 

And, today I didn't feel like a hulled out shell, a husk of a human being; today, I felt almost lifelike.
And I feel guilty writing comments so long on other blogs, like Kia's, that really it's like I'm blogging on someone else's time. (Thank you, Kia, for letting me confess about the polka dotted prom dress -- AND the matching shoes. I've needed to get that one off my chest!) 
And some of you nice people have been nagging at me in the most beautiful ways to get back to business. 
And I've been reading all of you so much, you've made me think of more things I need to say... 
And my kids are growing and changing and teaching me things...

Will you have me back? Anyone still reading? 
Well, if so, you have my greatbighuge gratitude. And if not, I'll be here anyway. I really blog mostly for me, for the process, for the release, for the self care. And I think I'm ready to take a little bit better care of me. 

Still, I know it's been less than a month, but I missed you.